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Boundary County hay harvest late

Bonners Ferry--Just like all crops in Idaho this summer, the Boundary County hay crop is late, nearly two weeks later than last year.

Twenty-five miles south of the Canadian border in Boundary County, Mike Riebli is harvesting hay. They do not irrigate and this is the first cutting.

"Yea, this field here is our first cut, its over-ripe but with all the rain we had in June and July, we could not get it done like we normally do, we're usually done by the middle of July," said Riebli.

This year Riebli says he got about 3 1/2 tons per acre but yields are down this year with the market hovering between the $140 and $150 mark, per ton. Rising feed costs have not hit Boundary County yet, but he says he will sell everything he harvests.

"We're getting about $150 from the horse people delivered when we truck it to Post Falls, Rathdrum, Sandpoint. The export market is a little higher, but we do okay with $150 with delivery," said Riebli.

In the panhandle producers rarely get more than two cutting of hay without irrigation, this year they might not get another with hot dry weather setting in.

"You never know with this weather, it was a 100-degrees yesterday 97 today, it all depends on what kind of fall we get. If we have a long Indian summer we might get another cutting with some rain and good temperatures, we'll see," added Riebli.

Even with lower yields and lower market prices, Riebli says he'll make money, thanks to the niche horse market that buys everything he harvests.